Docker mac performance


Speeding up Docker on macOS

Suppose you have transferred your development environment to Docker. In that case, you may have discovered your internet application stacks may be slower compared to other native surroundings you have been accustomed to. We can do things to return your reaction downtimes to the way they have been (or thereabouts).


  1. Volume optimizations

Alter your quantity bind-mount consistency. Consistency cache pruning from Docker follows a user-guided strategy. We favor assigned for many use-cases.

  1. Use shared caches

Be certain common resources are shared between jobs — decrease unnecessary downloads and compilation.

  1. Boost system tools

THE Default RAM limit is 2GB; increase up that to 4GB — it will not affect system functionality. Think about raising CPU limits.

  1. Further concerns

A couple of final tips and suggestions!


Most of our internet projects revolve around an ordinary Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) heap. Historically, these elements were set up on our machines utilizing Homebrew, a digital server, or another program like MAMP.

In-Engage, our programmers use Docker in their regional environments. We have moved all our preexisting jobs to some Dockerised setup, which means a programmer can start working on a job without installing any requirements.

When we initially started with Docker, it was unbelievably slow compared to what we used to short, eloquent response times very similar to our manufacturing environments. The growth quality of life was not very ideal.

What makes it slower on Mac?

Back in Docker, we could bind-mount a quantity onto the server (your Mac), into some Docker container) It supplies the container an opinion of the host file, In other phrases, pointing out to a specific directory from the container into some directory onto your Mac. Any writes in the container or host are subsequently mirrored vice-versa.

On Linux, maintaining a constant ensured view between the container and host has very little overhead. By comparison, there’s a far larger overhead on MacOS and other programs in maintaining the file consistently, contributing to performance degradation.

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Docker containers operate along with a Linux kernel; significance Docker on Linux may use the native kernel and the inherent virtual file system shared between the container and host.

On Mac, we are utilizing Docker Desktop. This really can be a native macOS program, which can be bundled with an embedded hypervisor (HyperKit). HyperKit stipulates that the kernel capabilities of Linux. Unlike Docker on Linux, any file system modifications will need to get passed between the container and host through Docker for Mac, which could soon add a good deal of additional computational overhead.

  1. Volume optimizations

We have identified bind-mounts could be slow on Mac (see previously ).

Among the greatest performance optimizations, you can create shifting the assurance file system info perfectly replicated into the container and host. Docker defaults into a constant guarantee the container and host file system signify each other.

We do not require a consistent manifestation for nearly all our usage cases at Engage — ideal consistency between host and container is frequently unnecessary. We could allow for some small flaws and temporary disagreements in exchange for substantially enhanced functionality.

The choices Docker supplies are:


The container and host are consistent. Each time a draft occurs, the data will be flushed to most participants of their bracket’s view.


The server is important in this circumstance. There could be flaws before writes about a host will be readily available into this container.


The container remains more authoritative. There could be flaws until updates inside the container show up on the host.

The document system waits between the server, and people do not perceive the container. But, certain workloads may demand greater consistency. I default to assigned, as normally our bind-mounted volumes include source code. Data is just shifting when I hit save, and it has been duplicated via assigned by the time that I’ve got an opportunity to respond.

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Like our shared composer and decoration cache, a few other procedures may gain from Docker’s cached alternative — apps are persisting information. In this situation, it may be more significant than all writes are perfectly reproduced to the server.

Watch an example of some docker-compose. yml configuration under:


– ../:/var/www:delegated
– ./
– ~/.composer/docker-cache/:/root/.composer:cached

Docker does not do so by default. It’s a fantastic motive, which says that a method that wasn’t consistent with default will act surprisingly and inconsistently. Complete, perfect consistency can be essential.

Additional reading:

  1. Employing shared caches

The majority of our jobs are utilizing Composer for PHP and Yarn for frontend assembles. Each time we begin a Docker container, then it is a brand new example of itself. HTTP downloading and requests payloads across the internet provides a great deal of latency, and it attracts the first builds of jobs to a snail’s speed — and Yarn would need to re-download all it has bundles every moment.

One other wonderful optimization would be to bind-mount docker cache’ volume to the container and then apply this over similar endeavors. Docker would subsequently pull Composer packages via an internal cache rather than the net.

Watch an example of bind-mounting that a docker cache to the container. We now do so at the docker write configuration:

image: php:7.3-fpm
– ../:/var/www:delegated
– ~/.composer/docker-cache/:/root/.composer:cached

  1. Increasing system tools

If you are using a Mac, then odds are, you get an adequate amount of RAM available for you. Docker utilizes 2GB of RAM by default. Quite an easy performance tweak is to increase your RAM limitation readily available to Docker. It will not damage anything to provide Docker Desktop an excess of 2GB of RAM, which may considerably enhance these memory-intensive operations.

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You may even tweak the number of CPUs accessible, especially during times of greater i/o load, i.e., jogging dye set up. Docker will probably be synchronizing a great deal of file system events and activities between container and host. This is especially CPU intensive. By default, Docker Desktop for Mac is defined to use half of the number of chips on the server system. Increasing this limit can be thought to relieve I/O loading.

  1. Further concerns

This post is not exhaustive, as I am sure you will find different optimizations which may be created dependent on the circumstance of every sort of installation. In our usage cases, however, we have discovered these tweaks may considerably improve performance.

Some final things to think about would be:

Make sure the Docker program is running the most recent edition of Docker for Mac.

Make sure your main drive, Macintosh HD, is organized as APFS. This is Apple’s newest proprietary HDD structure and features a couple of performance optimizations versus historical formats.

Last notes

Docker constantly focuses on improving the operation of all Docker for Mac, so it is a fantastic idea to maintain your Docker program current to gain from such types of performance optimizations. The majority of the functionality of document system I/O could be made better over Hypervisor/VM layers. Lowering the I/O latency demands shortening the information path in the Linux system phone to MacOS and again. Each element from the data path requires pruning and sometimes takes a substantial development effort in your Docker team.